International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. 

Marked annually on March 8th, International Women’s Day (IWD) is one of the most important days of the year to:

  • celebrate women’s achievements
  • raise awareness about women’s equality
  • lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraise for female-focused charities

This year the theme is “Choose To Challenge”.

A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

I was very fortunate growing up that my parents believed my sister Brenda (above, left) and I could do anything.  They encouraged us to seek out a career path that both challenged and excited us.  This was not without its struggles.  My sister went on to become a VP with Co-Operators Insurance.  I’m so very proud of her career.

I chose the world of numbers.  Public accounting has always been my passion.  For a woman starting her career in the early 80’s, this was an amazing place to be.  The sky was the limit.  I took a couple of detours along the way into property management, but then back again to my roots.  I have been very fortunate with my own business to have the support of some amazing women.

Erica Cherney, a mentor from Peterborough, Ontario, taught me so much; most of all to have confidence in myself.  It was through her that I became involved in the

Women’s Business Network of Peterborough.  Without the women in that group, I would not have the ability to speak up.  They had the patience to allow a very shy person to become the President of the group.

Jane Ulrich, my champion from Buckhorn, Ontario, has had so much faith in me to grow which I will be forever grateful.  Check out Jane’s podcast, Mentors and Mavens: Up Close & Personal.

This month, I was the featured speaker for the Westshore Women’s Business Network.  Deb Alcadinho is a champion to all women in business.  She leads by example.  She is heart-centred and always working toward elevating women in our community.

For my own daughter, she chose a new path in medicine.  Catherine (to my right in the photo above) was one of the first graduating classes from the University of Manitoba, receiving her Masters in Physician Assistant Studies after completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Trent University.  Physician Assistants have long been recognized in the military.  Now they are more mainstream, working alongside physicians in family medicine and many specialties.  During the COVID-19 outbreak in Manitoba, they played a key role in assisting on the front lines.

What comes next for my granddaughter?  What glass ceilings will she break when she chooses her career?  Right now, at the age of 20 months, she loves her dump truck and hauling things in her wagon.  Will we see her running big machinery? Check back in 18 years, and I will give you an update.

I believe women have come a long way.  Is there still room for equality – absolutely.  But we need to bring equality and inclusivity in all areas of our life.

This year the theme of IWD 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge. Challenge the norm, do not accept inequality and do promote inclusivity.

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